In case you don’t know about the Harvard-Yale Regatta, it is the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the United States. They started racing each other in 1852 which, for those of you who know your US History, was before the Civil War began. With the exception of not racing during times of war when the US was fighting, the race – “The Race” – has been run every year since 1859. Initially it was rowed on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire but it’s more permanent home is on the Thames River in New London, CT. (Unlike the river that runs through London, England, this one is not pronounced “Tems”. It is in fact pronounced just as it’s spelled.)
There are two campsites along the river that act as the training grounds for each team and where they bunker down for a week or more to prepare to race each other. Yale is at Gales Ferry and Harvard is at Red Top. There are four races all together – the varsity (4 miles), junior varsity (3 miles), freshman (2 miles), and combination (2 miles), which is a boat comprised of rowers from the 3V8+ and 2F8+. The winners of the combination race earn the right to paint their team’s colors on the rock at Bartlett’s Cove the next day, which also happens to be the most popular spot to watch the races as they come down the river.
Harvard is currently sitting atop the leader boards with an impressive 94-54 record, having won the varsity race for the last six consecutive years and 13 of the last 14.